What is Problem Gambling?
Gambling is the habitual wagering on something of value with an unpredictable outcome with the intention of winning something more than what is actually paid out. Gambling therefore requires three components to be in place: risk, consideration, and a payout. The odds of a particular game being won or lost are used as a reference point by gamblers to estimate the probability of something bad happening. Gambling can be compared to betting on sports, in that it involves the same risks as in betting on a game like football or basketball. It is considered to be a popular recreational activity among many people.
People who are suffering from gambling addictions often have a number of behavioral and emotional disorders which make them susceptible to intense and frequent gambling urges. This is often coupled with feelings of guilt, especially if they do not win the amount of money they set as bets. There are also people who can become addicted through gambling if they feel that their life is starting to lack meaning and significance. These people can then turn to activities like drug use or alcoholism.
There are different types of addictions that gambling can cause. In most states, gambling addiction is treated as one of the following – a substance abuse addiction, gambling disorder, or psychological problem. In recent years, there has been a trend for gambling addicts to seek treatment for their addictions instead of entering rehab facilities, which carry the risk of relapse. In the United States, treatment for gambling addiction is still being developed and may take several years before a solution is found. Treatment programs have been successful in some cases, but are not widespread enough to address the problem on a national level.
Psychological problems that can be associated with gambling addictions include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, mania, bi-polar disorder, and eating disorders. Most people with gambling addictions are not clinically depressed, nor do they suffer from a psychosis. They do, however, tend to suffer from loss of personal identity, which leads to feelings of paranoia and depression. Many also develop financial difficulties as a result of gambling, and they tend to have poor work habits because of it. Many of these people find that they fail to maintain employment because of their gambling problems.
Substance addictions such as alcohol and cocaine are treatable in many instances, if they are discovered and treated early. However, most gambling addictions cannot be treated with any type of medication, due to the complicated nature of the brain chemistry that links the use of gambling behavior with rewards. Many therapists believe that addictions begin with small losses that lead to greater losses, which are followed by more increases in loss of substance, until the person is unable to function without the substance. These addicts often withdraw from society altogether, and live in squalid conditions that contribute to the cycle of addiction.
Gambling can be both a symptom and a cause of a larger problem, such as depression or another mental health disorder. The problem becomes magnified when the person loses money, as a result of gambling, and cannot find a way to replace that money. This causes them to have compulsive behavior associated with gambling, which causes them to lose even more money. This is compulsive gambling addiction. Most addicts find help by either joining an online chat room where they can speak to others who have similar problems, or by joining a support group for gambling addicts, like Narcotics Anonymous. Professional help should be considered before a person begins playing a game of card or any other gambling activity.